Quick Links

Ravens' Tucker stays consistent


Ravens' Tucker stays consistent

There is so much money and time now spent on the draft. NFL teams scout out every possible player in every possible way at every possible level.

But sometimes they miss one.

Justin Tucker is one they missed. A solid kicker at Texas, he went unpicked in the 2012 NFL Draft, and the Ravens quickly invited him to work with them and eventually signed him to do battle with incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff. Tucker beat him out for the full-time job, and the Ravens have reaped the benefits of that decision.

Tucker kicked a 43-yard field goal late Sunday that sealed the 25-15 victory over the Browns in Cleveland. He's been so consistent all season long, making John Harbaugh and his coaches probably relax quite a bit after deciding to cut a proven veteran kicker for an untested rookie.

Tucker's given the Ravens something they haven't really had much before -- a long-range kicker. Matt Stover was outstanding as a kicker during his long stint here, but had more trouble from farther away. But Tucker's numbers so far this season are really something.

He's made 15 of 16 kicks overall, which is impressive enough. However, the rookie's also hit five of six kicks from between 40 and 49 yards. Even more impressive is that he's made all four of his 50-plus yard kicks.

Someone who's that good in longer kicks can give an offense an extra dimension. The Ravens know that if they can get to the opposing 35-yard line that they've got a good chance to at least kick a field goal. That's a big difference from asking the offense to move it even farther and could take some pressure off.

What will be interesting to see is how Tucker handles things the second half of the season and when he gets called on late in big games, possibly against the Steelers. That will be another part of the learning curve for someone who looks to be a very effective young kicker.

Quick Links

Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

USA Today Sports Images

Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

Quick Links

Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

USA TODAY Sports Images

Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?